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Daily Encounter with: ACTS International

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Post  Admin on Wed 04 Feb 2015, 11:06 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

The Healing Power of Hope  

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing
fulfilled is a tree of life."1 - King Solomon

Norman Cousins was a doctor who treated leprosy and
edited the Saturday Review magazine in the early 1960s.
After suffering a painful and prolonged illness, he
became fascinated on ways in which to fight against the
“pain intensifiers" that he identified as negative
emotions that increase the amount of pain a person
feels. 

"Cousins concluded that if negative emotions could
produce chemical changes in the human body, then
positive emotions such as hope, faith, love, joy, the
will to live, creativity and playfulness could
counteract the results of negative emotions and thereby
reduce pain.

"Cousins began a research group at the UCLA medical
school and studied the effects of positive emotions on
health and pain. He surveyed 649 oncologists and asked
them what psychological and emotional factors in their
patients seemed important to them. Over 90 percent of
those surveyed assigned the highest value to the
attitudes of hope and optimism.

"Paul Brand writes about this research, 'One of the
most important gifts we in the health profession can
offer our patients is hope, thereby inspiriting in the
patient a deep conviction that inner strength can make
a difference in the struggle against pain and
suffering.'"2

Interesting how God's Word, the Bible, taught the
importance of hope in health and well-being three
thousand years ago. Modern medicine came to this
conclusion through research 50 or so years ago!

And what greater hope can anyone ever have that the
Christian whose hope in in the Lord--no matter what
happens. As David, the psalmist, wrote, "Be strong and
take heart, all you who hope in the LORD."3

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that no matter
what happens to me, my trust and my hope are in You.
And I thank You for the healing power that this gives.
Gratefully in Jesus's name. Amen." 

1. Proverbs 13:12 (NIV).
2. See also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Cousins.
3. Psalm 31:24 (NIV).

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  ACTS International.
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Post  Admin on Tue 03 Feb 2015, 9:55 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Resolving Marriage and Relationship Conflicts  

“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live
peaceably with all men."1

Frieda (not her real name), a Daily Encounter
subscriber, asks: “Dear Dick, I write with a heavy
heart and confused mind. My husband has chosen to
withdraw all affection from me as he says he is fed up
with my controlling him, and that I make him feel like
a child. We have been married for 25 years and I am not
aware that I have acted differently towards him over
this time even though he has said from time to time
that he hates my telling him what to do, I had just put
it down to his low self-esteem. I believe I am being
helpful while he thinks I am trying to rescue him. I
don't know how to get our relationship back on track.
Please clarify what you refer to when you talk about
not rescuing people." 

Dear Frieda, Rescuing people is doing for them, or
wanting to do for them what they need to see and do for
themselves, or telling them what they need to do; that
is, trying to change and fix them without considering
what you might be contributing to the situation
yourself. Doing this makes matters worse because people
rightfully resent this. It is giving unsolicited
(unasked for and unwanted) advice which never works,
because it is assuming that you know the needs of the
other person better without looking first at what you
need to see and do. In every marriage conflict there
are always two sides--always!  

Furthermore, realize that the only person we can ever
change is our self. Trying to change others makes them
angry and drives them away. It also causes some to
withdraw. 

Next, learn to pray the right prayer. Usually we want
God to change the other person. What we need to pray
first is that God will face us with the truth of what
we are contributing to the situation we are in--and
first change us! We are ALWAYS contributing something.
It is absolutely essential that we first see the truth
about ourselves--the way God sees us. Without facing
the truth about ourselves first and foremost, there is
little or no chance of recovery. 

Finally, I suggest that you see a professional marriage
counselor. If your husband won't agree to do this (and
my guess is that he understandably won't to start
with), that is fine. You go yourself and work on your
own recovery and growth. If you live in North America,
for the name of a qualified Christian counselor in your
area, call the Narramore Christian Foundation at
1-800-477-5893 and press "1" for Dianne, and tell her
that Dick Innes suggested that you call to ask for the
name (or names) of a Christian counselor/s in your
area.

As YOU CHANGE, your husband will be forced to change as
his relationship to you is partly in response to your
actions and relationship towards him. 

Again, always pray for God to face you with the truth
about you before ever praying and asking God to reveal
to you the truth about your husband. As Jesus said, it
is the truth that sets people free! See John 8:32.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, in every negative
situation in which I find myself, please always
confront me with the truth and reality of what I am
contributing, and what I need to do to change me. Thank
You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in
Jesus’s name, amen."

1. Romans 12:18 (NKJV). 

<Smile)))><    
  
  Copyright (c) 2014 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2014
  ACTS International.

Today's Daily Encounter

The Path to Personal Freedom  

"When you ask [pray], you do not receive, because you
ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get
on your pleasures."1

The following request for help came from a Daily
Encounter reader in Europe. “Dear Mr. Innes, I have a
terrible habit that I can’t stop. It is destroying my
marriage. I keep having sexual relationships outside of
my marriage and don’t know how to stop. All my prayers
for deliverance seem to be in vain. Can you please help
me?"

Dear Mr. X, “Thank you for being honest about your
sexual problem. This is the starting point of recovery
from any problem. You also need to realize and admit
that any habit that controls your life is an addiction.
In other words, you need to admit that you are a sex
addict. 

Next, also realize that oftentimes our prayers are not
answered because we pray the wrong prayer. That is,
when we have a problem, we tend to ask God to deliver
us from the problem we see, when, in fact, the problem
we see and focus on is just the symptom of a deeper
problem. Furthermore, when we fail to see the root
cause behind the problem, we pray for deliverance from
the symptom all the more vigorously. 

In other words, Mr. X’s acting out sexually is no doubt
the fruit of a deeper root--a root that could have been
caused by his never having felt truly loved and
accepted by his mother when he was a child.
Unconsciously, he may still be looking for this “mother
love" in all the wrong ways and places.

No matter what one’s addiction is--either sexually,
with alcohol, drugs, or even being a workaholic, there
is always a reason behind why we act out in
self-destructive ways. Obviously, to resolve the
problem or addiction, one needs to face and deal with
not merely the outward symptom, but the cause behind
the problem or addiction. 

I encourage you to pray the following prayer every day
until your problem is resolved: “Dear God, I confess
that I am a sex addict [or whatever addict]). Please
confront me with the truth and reality of why I have
this problem, and what is causing me to act out in this
self-destructive way. And please lead me to the help I
need to overcome this problem. Thank you for hearing
and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name,
amen."

P.S. Remember that Jesus said, "You will know the truth
and the truth will set you free."2 So be assured, as
long as you are not free, there is some truth that you
are not facing and dealing with.

1. James 4:3 (NIV).
2. John 8:32 (NIV).

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  ACTS International.
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Post  Admin on Sat 31 Jan 2015, 11:16 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

I’d Rather Have Jesus  

The Apostle Paul wrote, “What is more, I consider
everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness
of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have
lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may
gain Christ."1

On a TV program some time ago Joy and I saw the late
George Beverly Shea being interviewed by Bill Gaither.
Close to the beginning of the Billy Graham Crusades
back in 1947 Mr. Shea had been the BGC team soloist.

Over the years I’ve attended several Graham Crusades in
both Australia and the U.S. When in Chicago, I and a
few other college students “cheated" a little. We
joined the choir so we could get a great seat and
observe the evangelist close up. We were reasonably
good singers back then anyhow. In every one of these
crusades it was always inspiring to hear Bev Shea with
his rich baritone voice sing his signature song which
was, “I’d Rather Have Jesus."

I didn’t realize it until I heard Shea on the TV
interview that he wrote the music of this well-known
gospel song--the words of which are a devotion in and
of themselves.

  I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
   I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
   I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
   I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand.

  Than to be a king of a vast domain
   Or be held in sin’s dread sway,
   I’d rather have Jesus than anything
   This world affords today.

   I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
   I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
   I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame,
   I’d rather be true to His holy name.

   He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
   He’s sweeter than honey from out of the comb;
   He’s all that my hungering spirit needs,
   I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, grant that I, too, will
always be able to sing from my heart, and truly mean
it, the words of the song, ‘I’d Rather Have Jesus.’ So
help me God. Thank You for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’s name, amen."

1. Philippians 3:8 (NIV).

<Smile)))><    
  
  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  
  Copyright (c) 2014 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2014
  ACTS International.
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Post  Admin on Thu 29 Jan 2015, 4:28 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Successful Failures  

“For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise
again."1

Chances are you’ve read about all of the following
failures who ended up making a great impact in their
chosen field of endeavor.

For example, as a young man Abraham Lincoln went to war
as a captain and returned as a private. Winston
Churchill failed sixth grade. Thomas Edison's teachers
said he was “too stupid to learn anything." Albert
Einstein didn’t speak until he was 4-years-old and
didn’t read until he was 7. Louis Pasteur was only a
mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies and ranked 15th
out of 22 students in chemistry.

Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he
succeeded. F. W. Woolworth was not allowed to wait on
customers when he worked in a dry goods store. When
Bell telephone was struggling to get started, its
owners offered all their rights to Western Union for
$100,000. The offer was disdainfully rejected with the
pronouncement, “What use could this company make of an
electrical toy."

An expert said of Vince Lombardi: “He possesses minimal
football knowledge and lacks motivation." Michael
Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
Babe Ruth is famous for his past home-run record, but
for decades he also held the record for strikeouts.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because “he
lacked imagination and had no good ideas." Charles
Schultz of “Peanuts" fame had every cartoon he
submitted rejected by his high school yearbook
staff--and Walt Disney wouldn't hire him. After his
first audition, Sidney Poitier was told by the casting
director, “Why don't you stop wasting people's time and
go out and become a dishwasher or something?" When
Lucille Ball began studying to be actress in 1927, she
was told by the head instructor of the John Murray
Anderson  Drama School, “Try any other profession."2

And so the stories go on. For a more detailed and
intriguing list visit: http://tinyurl.com/2mf23v

What we learn from these people is that none of these
people gained instant success. They suffered rejection,
setbacks and failures--but they had a passion for what
they wanted to do and stuck with it until they made it.
And for those of us who believe God has a purpose for
our life we need to do the same, and in the words of
Winston Churchill: “Never give in, never give in,
never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small,
large or petty--never give in except to convictions of
honor and good sense. Never, Never, Never, Never give
up."

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to discover
my God-given life purpose and with Your help pursue it
with great enthusiasm and never, never, never, never
give up. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus’s name, amen."

1. Proverbs 24:16 (NKJV).
2. Source: Self-Efficacy Site (website URL no longer
working).

<Smile)))><    
 
  
  Copyright (c) 2014 by ACTS International. 
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  ACTS International.
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Post  Admin on Thu 29 Jan 2015, 12:01 am

Today's Daily Encounter

You’re Not Home Yet  

“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful
servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will
make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of
your lord’"1

After serving as a missionary for forty years in
Africa, Henry C. Morrison became sick and had to return
to America. As the great ocean liner docked in New 
York Harbor there was a great crowd gathered to welcome
home another passenger on that boat. Morrison watched
as President Teddy Roosevelt received a grand welcome
home party after his African Safari.

Resentment seized Henry Morrsion and he turned to God
in anger, “I have come back home after all this time
and service to the church and there is no one, not even
one person here to welcome me home."

Then a still small voice came to Morrison and said,
“You're not home yet."2

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, help me to live life to
the fullest and serve Your faithfully all the days of
my life, and remember that the real rewards await my
homecoming when I get home to be with You forever in
heaven. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus’s name, amen."

1. Matthew 25:21 (NKJV).
2. Brett Blair, www.Sermons.com

<Smile)))><    
  
  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  Copyright (c) 2014 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2014
  ACTS International.


Today's Daily Encounter

Why Temptation Is Like Ice Cream  

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to
man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be
tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are
tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can
stand up under it."1

Nelson Searcy tells of a study that was conducted about
the best tasting ice cream. Members of the control
group were blindfolded and given all kinds of vanilla
ice cream to taste--quality brand ice cream, gourmet
ice cream, homemade ice cream, cheap ice cream and
everything in between.

It didn’t matter if it was gourmet, brand name, or
homemade ice cream, “The number one determining factor
was the percentage of fat in the ice cream. In other
words, the more fat that was in the ice cream, the more
people liked it."

As Searcy stated, “Now, isn’t that one of the ironies
of life? Why can’t fried chicken, which happens to be
my favorite food, be as good for you as an apple?  I
have never heard a doctor say--‘A fried chicken leg a
day will keep the doctor away.’ The reason they say
that is because if you had fried chicken every morning
for breakfast, it would probably keep the doctor nearby
because your cholesterol would shoot up. I guess I’ll
have to settle for apples."2

And who doesn’t like a good fatty ice cream? As a kid
we even used to pour pure cream over our ice cream.
Yum! Yum! We had no idea how unhealthy that was.

Temptation, too, can have an overpowering attraction
and appeal. It can look fabulous and at first taste
very inviting--but in the long run its effects are
deadly. It reminds me of an extremely beautiful fish
that is found on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
It’s only very small but its sting is incredibly
painful. It needs to be avoided at all cost. Same with
sin. Regardless how attractive it appears, its end
result is deadly so it needs to be avoided at all
costs. As Searcy said, “When we give in to temptation,
we always regret it because in the long run we always
give up something greater for instant gratification
right now."3

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to remember
that while sin’s temptation can be very appealing, it
always pays self-destructive dividends. Through Your
Spirit please give me the strength to resist the lures
of the evil one--and the good sense to always depend on
You and not try to fight it in my own strength. Thank
You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus’s name, amen."

1. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV).
2. Nelson Searcy. Source: KneEmail.
kneemail-subscribe@welovegod.org.
3. Ibid.

<Smile)))><    
  
  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  Copyright (c) 2014 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2014
  ACTS International.
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Post  Admin on Mon 26 Jan 2015, 8:39 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

To Be OK or Not OK?  

King David wrote in the Psalms, “Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of
sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord
has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete
honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body
wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night
your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength
evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I
confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide
my guilt. I said to myself, ‘I will confess my
rebellion to the Lord.’ And you forgave me! All my
guilt is gone."1

A very popular pop-psychology book written back in the
late sixties was Thomas Harris’ I’m OK - You’re OK.
There’s been some suggested other titles such as, “I’m
Not OK and You’re Not OK but That’s OK," and not
surprising in our culture a more sarcastic one, “I’m OK
- You’re an Idiot."

In Anthony De Mello's book, Awareness, he says, “People
tell you, ‘I think you're very charming,’ so I feel OK.
I get a positive stroke [and that boosts my ego and I
feel great for the moment]. I'm going to write a book
someday and the title will be, I'm a Donkey, You're a
Donkey. That's the most liberating, wonderful thing in
the world, when you openly admit you're a donkey. It's
wonderful. When people tell me, ‘You're wrong.’ I say,
‘What can you expect of a donkey?’"2 (De Mello did use
a different word for donkey.)

Now, before you write me off as rattling off in
psychobabble, understand what Fr. De Mello was saying;
that is, we need to get real and admit what we truly
are. This is not a put-down in any way, but only as we
see ourselves the same as God sees us are we free to
change and become all that God envisioned for us to be.
Actually, until we admit what we truly are and accept
ourselves as we are--warts and all--we are not free to
change and grow because we just hide behind a false
mask living in denial-a self-defeating and deadly way
to live.

As King David declared in today’s Scripture, how joyful
he became when he came out of denial, lived in complete
honesty, and confessed his sins and received God’s
forgiveness. All his guilt was gone! A great and joyous
way to live.

Remember that while God loves me as I am, he loves me
too much to leave me as I am. He wants me to grow up
into the fullness of my salvation and become all that
He envisioned for me to be.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please deliver me from the
sin of denial and give me the courage to see myself as
You see me--and accept myself as You accept  me--so I
am free, with Your help, to become all that You planned
for me to be. Thank You for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’s name, amen."

1. Psalm 32:1-5 (NLT).
2. Anthony De Mello, Awareness,
http://www.demello.org/.

<Smile)))><    
  
  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  Copyright (c) 2014 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2014
  ACTS International.
Admin
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Post  Admin on Sat 24 Jan 2015, 12:26 am

Today's Daily Encounter

Developing a Healthy Self-Image  

“We love Him [God] because He first loved us."1

Jim was standing in line at the supermarket checkout
when, to his amazement, in charged an angry, aggressive
man, with his browbeaten wife in tow, pushing in line
ahead of Jim and several other customers. With a forty
pound (twenty-kilogram) sack of flour slung over his
shoulder. Handing his wife some money, he growled:
“Here, you pay for the stuff." He then proceeded to
stomp off with his bag of flour.

Unknown to him, there was a hole in the back of the
flour bag. As he stormed out of the supermarket, he
left behind a trail of white flour all the way to his
car. As Jim walked out of the store, he noticed that
the angry man had just discovered his now half-empty
sack of flour. Poetic justice one might suggest!

What makes people like this man so obnoxious? Among
other possibilities, he undoubtedly has a very poor
self-image. The bottom line is that these people don't
feel loved. That's why his wife was such a wimp, too.
People who strongly dislike themselves tend to either
become weak, passive and over-compliant and withdraw,
or project their self-hatred onto the people around
them by being aggressive and bullying. Because they
don't like themselves, they believe others don't like
them either and set themselves up to be rejected.

To overcome a poor self-image and the lack of a healthy
sense of self-acceptance doesn’t happen overnight. It
takes time, commitment, and risk taking.

More often than not insecurity and a poor self-image
has its roots in early childhood where one didn’t
receive or feel that he received unconditional love.
But here’s the challenge: What we didn’t receive in
childhood we need to receive now.

And how do we do that? It’s simple but not easy. It’s
based on a biblical principle in that, “We love God
because He first loved us." In other words (spiritually
speaking) we learned to love God through his love for
us in that he knows us fully--warts and all--and loves
us regardless … unconditionally.

The same principle applies emotionally. To truly love
others we need to be first loved by at least one safe,
understanding, and non-judgmental person. To be loved
by that person we need to be fully known by him or
her--warts and all--and knowing us as we truly are,
they love us unconditionally anyhow. It is through
their unconditional love for us that we learn (in time)
to love and accept ourselves in a healthy way.

Like I said, it is simple but not easy in that it can
be very scary because we fear that if we are fully
known for who we really are, we may not be liked and
then rejected. However, it is only as we take the risk
and step out of our comfort zone that we have any
chance of learning how to fully love and accept
ourselves in a healthy way. The more we do this the
more we will improve our self-image, and consequently,
the less we will get our feelings hurt and the easier
it will be to deal with whatever setbacks come our way.
We may still get our feelings hurt but we won’t be
devastated.For further help in “Developing a Healthy
Self-Image" visit: http://tinyurl.com/af5hf

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, I thank You that You know
me fully as I am and love me unconditionally. Please
help me to find a safe person to whom I can become
fully known and loved and learn to love and accept
myself in the same way that You love and accept me.
Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus’s name, amen."

1. 1 John 14:19 (NKJV).

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Post  Admin on Thu 22 Jan 2015, 2:17 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Living With a “Time Bomb"  

“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be
known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be
mistreated along with the people of God rather than to
enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time."1

According to a report in the Daily Mail (London, 
England), a pensioner used a  live artillery shell as a
doorstop for 20 years.

For decades the seven-inch-long shell had been a family
memento, polished and given pride of place on the
mantle piece. The First World War relic also served as
a toy and finally, for the past 20 years, as a front
doorstop at the home of 68-year-old Thelma Bonnett.

At any time during all those years, however, it could
have exploded. The German squat shell was live, packed
with its original payload and with its firing mechanism
primed, experts have said. It was only when a neighbor
saw the shell outside Mrs. Bonnett's door that the
danger became clear.

The police were called and they summoned Royal Navy
bomb disposal experts to the house in Paignton, Devon.
Several neighbors were evacuated from their homes and
the device was taken to a local quarry and exploded. It
had been in the family for nearly a century after her
grandfather Arthur Croxall brought it home in 1918. "I
had no idea it was dangerous," Mrs. Bonnett said.
"Grandfather picked it up on his travels with the
Merchant Navy in 1918. My father used to polish it all
the time and kept it on the mantelpiece…."

A Ministry of Defense spokesman said: "The shell was
packed full of explosives and it could have gone off at
any time."2

It is true, as today’s Scripture verse implies, sin can
be pleasurable--for a short time. However, if we
continue to “toy" with and live a life of sin and
wrongdoing, we may not realize it, but we, too, will be
sitting on a time bomb that could explode at any
time--and eventually will--and destroy one’s
reputation, character, close relationships and/or one’s
physical, emotional and spiritual health. Sin always
has its consequences, the end of which is eternal death
which is not the cessation of our being--but being
eternally separated from God, the author of all love
and life, in the place the Bible calls hell--wherever
and whatever that may be. One thing is certain: It will
be hell!

Sin--all sin is a deadly spiritual cancer--and you
either get the cancer or the cancer gets you. God has
the only cure for this deadly time bomb. For help click
on the "Know God" link below or visit:
http://tinyurl.com/8glq9.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, thank You that You have
provided the only cure and way of escape from sin’s
deadly consequences by giving Your Son, Jesus, to die
in my place to pay the penalty for all my sins. Help me
to be certain that I have accepted Jesus as my Savior
and received Your forgiveness and gift of eternal life.
Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus’s name, amen."

1. Hebrews 11:24-25 (NIV).
2. Source: Daily Mail, London, England, July 2, 2007.
   To see a picture of the shell and Thelma Bonnett
   visit: http://tinyurl.com/ywtb8p.
   Cited on WITandWISDOM www.witandwisdom.org

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  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
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Today's Daily Encounter

Overcoming Resentment  

"So get rid of your feelings of hatred [anger/
resentment]. Don't just pretend to be good! Be done
with dishonesty."1 Also, "If you are angry [resentful],
don't sin by nursing your grudge. Don't let the sun go
down with you still angry--get over it quickly; for
when you are angry, you give a mighty foothold to the
Devil."2

A Daily Encounter reader asks, "How do you find release
from resentment?"

First, admit exactly how you feel. Realize, too, that
feelings are amoral; that is in and of themselves they
are neither right nor wrong, they just are. It’s what
we do with them (and the cause of them) that is either
right or wrong--creative or destructive.

Second, also realize that resentment is often a result
of jealousy and anger. For instance, a jealous person
is very often angry at either the person who received a
promotion or some gift, recognition, or benefit he or
she felt they were more deserving of and angry at the
one who did the giving or gave the promotion.

Third, recognize that jealousy is often a byproduct of
one’s insecurity and poor self-image. (We will address
this issue in tomorrow’s Daily Encounter).

Fourth, to resolve resentment it is imperative that one
resolves his or her anger. For help to do this read,
“Taming Your Anger" at: http://tinyurl.com/b439f

Finally, one needs to fully forgive the one they feel
has hurt them--whether the hurt is justified or not
(often it isn’t). However, without resolving one’s hurt
and anger, it is virtually impossible to forgive the
one you feel has hurt you. After the hurt and anger are
resolved, forgiveness becomes a simple choice--we
either choose to forgive or choose to hang on to our
hurt, anger and resentment.

As Loren Fischer so wisely said, "The difference
between holding on to a hurt [resentment] or releasing
it with forgiveness is the difference between laying
your head at night on a pillow filled with thorns or a
pillow filled with rose petals."  And as another put
it, “Failing to forgive is like drinking poison and
waiting for the other person to die."

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, whenever I am feeling
resentful, please help me to see the causes behind my
resentment--be it insecurity, jealousy, hurt and/or
anger--and find the help I need to deal with and
resolve these issues so I will always freely forgive
all who have hurt me as You have freely forgiven me for
all of my sins. Thank You for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’s name, amen."

For further help read “Forgiveness: The Power That
Heals" at: http://tinyurl.com/3bw3q3 and for resolving
anger read, “Taming Your Anger" at:
http://tinyurl.com/b439f.

1. 1 Peter 2:1 (TLB).
2. Ephesians 4:26-27 (TLB).

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Post  Admin on Mon 19 Jan 2015, 11:54 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Before You or Your Kids Say, “I Do."  

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on
your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge
him, and he will make your paths straight."1

A Daily Encounter reader writes, “My son is seeing a
young woman who is trying to force him to marry right
away even though they hardly know each other. Is there
any way I can advise him?"

As your son is legally an adult, there isn’t much you
can do unless he seeks your counsel. If he were my son
and asked for my counsel and is a Christian, the
following is what I would do:

1. I would encourage him to pray earnestly for God's
direction and especially that God would reveal to him
the truth, both about himself and about his lady
friend, and their relationship. When physical
attraction and/or need is strong, couples are very
often blind to reality, marry before they really know
each other, and alas too late discover they made a big
mistake. However, when seeing the truth before
marriage, at least the one earnestly seeking the truth
knows what he/she needs to do.

2. I would urge him to receive the best possible
pre-marriage counseling with his potential life partner
as this is an excellent way to see the truth about each
other and to see if they are well suited for each other
or otherwise.

3. I would warn him that anyone who is pushing to get
married too soon and before receiving adequate
pre-marriage counseling is either very needy and
over-dependent and/or hiding a character
weakness--possibly a serious one--and wants to hook a
partner before his/her flaws are discovered.

4. If my son is a Christian and his lady friend is
not--based on God’s Word I would let him know that this
is a big NO-NO. As God's word wisely advises, “Do not
be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do
righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what
fellowship can light have with darkness?"2 For a
healthy and strong relationship it is very important
that both are emotionally mature and spiritually in
harmony with each another.

5. Above all, I would encourage my son to earnestly
seek God’s guidance regarding this relationship and to
make sure he and his potential spouse pray together
regularly and put God first in both their personal life
and relationship should they decide to, or not to,
marry. If they don’t do this before marriage, it isn’t
too likely they will do it afterwards.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to be a
fine Christian example to my children so that they,
seeing my life, will want You to be first in their life
and always seek Your guidance and seek to live in
harmony with Your will. Thank You for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’s name,
amen."

1. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV).
2. 2 Corinthians 6:14 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Fri 16 Jan 2015, 4:51 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Judgment Day Is Coming  

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of
Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for
the things done while in the body, whether good or
bad."1

In a sermon Matt Woodley shared how, “On the first day
teaching his class of 250 college freshmen, R. C.
Sproul carefully explained the assignment of three term
papers. Each paper was due on the last day of
September, October, and November. Sproul clearly stated
there would be no extensions (except for medical
reasons). At the end of September 225 students
dutifully turned in their papers, while 25 remorseful
students quaked in fear. ‘We're so sorry,’ they said.
‘We didn't make the proper adjustments from high school
to college, but we promise to do better next time.’ He
bowed to their pleas for mercy, gave them an extension,
but warned them not to be late next month.

“At the end of October rolled around, 200 students
turned in their papers, while 50 students showed up
empty-handed. ‘Oh, please,’ they begged, ‘it was
homecoming weekend, and we ran out of time.’ Sproul
relented once more but warned them, ‘This is it. No
excuses next time. You will get an F.’

“The end of November came and only 100 students turned
in their papers. The rest told Sproul, ‘We'll get it in
soon.’

‘Sorry,’ Sproul replied. ‘It's too late now. You get an
F.’

“The students howled in protest, ‘That's not fair!’

"‘Okay,’ Sproul replied, ‘you want justice, do you?
Here's what's just: you'll get an F for all three
papers that were late. That was the rule, right?’

"‘The students had quickly taken my mercy for granted,’
Sproul later reflected. ‘They assumed it. When justice
suddenly fell, they were unprepared for it. It came as
a shock, and they were outraged.’"2

God has clearly put every Christian on notice that
every one of us will stand before the judgment seat of
Christ and give an account of how we have lived our
life here on earth.1 And for those who have never
received Jesus as their Savior they will stand before
God at the Great White Judgment Throne of God and be
judged for their sins and will have to pay the just
penalty thereof because they never accepted Jesus as
their Savior and asked for and accepted God’s
forgiveness.

As God’s Word says, “And I saw the dead, great and
small, standing before the throne, and books were
opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of
life. The dead were judged according to what they had
done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead
that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead
that were in them, and each person was judged according
to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown
into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second
death. If anyone's name was not found written in the
book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."3

Whatever you do, don’t ignore God’s warning and don’t
take God’s mercy for granted. “Behold, now is ‘the
acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of
salvation.’"4 If you have never accepted Jesus as your
Savior and asked God for forgiveness for all your sins,
I urge you, dear reader, to do that today.

For help click on the Know God button below or go to:
http://tinyurl.com/8glq9.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, thank You for Your Word
that tells me what I need to do to have my sins
forgiven; and thank You for giving Jesus, Your Son, to
pay the penalty for all my sins through His death on
the cross. And thank You for giving me a clear warning
that ‘As it is appointed for men to die once, but after
this the judgment.’5 letting me know that it is
imperative that I make things right with You today as
it is too late after I die. Thank You for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’s name,
amen."

1. 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NIV).
2. Matt Woodley, in the sermon "The Grieving Heart of 
   God," http://www.preachingtoday.com/48566
3. See Revelation 20:12-15.
4. 2. Corinthians 6:2 (NASV).
5. Hebrews 9:27 (NKJV).

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Post  Admin on Fri 16 Jan 2015, 1:21 am

Today's Daily Encounter

The Tyranny of the Urgent  

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's
will for you in Christ Jesus."1
I don’t know what it is like for you (though I am
confident that the same is true for you) but oftentimes
it seems as if my life is controlled by the tyranny of
the urgent. That is, there never seems to be a day when
something unexpected comes up that needs attention …
something is broken around the house … a friend is in
need … and with all my computer, email and web work
there is a never-ending flow of problems that need
fixing.

As I have said to friends, as long as you own a home
there always seems to be something that needs fixing.
In the last two weeks we have had a refrigerator break
down, a water line break, and have had more computer
problems than I can count. All these issues are very
time consuming and make it difficult to keep up with
one’s work load. But that’s life and these things can
become very stressful if we allow them to.

Besides the suggestions for coping with stress in last
Friday’s Daily Encounter, every day I like to remind
myself of, and daily thank God for, all the incredible
blessings in my life. I constantly thank God that as a
child my parents took me to a church and Sunday school
where I heard and accepted the gospel. I thank God for
health and strength and the ability to work hard, for a
roof over my head, a comfortable bed to sleep in, for
hot and cold running water, a great church, loving
friends, for the incredible opportunity of being able
to publish the gospel worldwide, and most of all for a
loving wife and family and for the wonderful privilege
of being a part of God’s family through no merit of my
own. And I know that all of these blessings from God
are only the tip of the tip of the iceberg of God’s
never ending blessings.

Living with an attitude of gratitude turns my problems
into challenges and makes them infinitely small in
comparison to all the blessings I daily experience.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please open my eyes so
that I can clearly see all the incredible blessings You
have so freely given to me and may I always have a
grateful heart for these. For one more blessing I pray:
and that is that You will give me an eternal attitude
of gratitude. Thank You for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’s name, amen."

1. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Wed 14 Jan 2015, 11:43 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Why Stress is Stressful  

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your
requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends
all understanding, will guard your hearts and your
minds in Christ Jesus."1

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an
audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy
is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from
20g to 500g.

The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't
matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I
hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold
it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I
hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In
each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold
it, the heavier it becomes."

He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress
management. If we carry our burdens all the time,
sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly
heavy, we won't be able to carry on.

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down
for a while and rest before holding it again. When
we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden.

"So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of
work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up
tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let
them down for a moment if you can."

It is well know that too much stress is a “killer."
Writing in Eternity magazine some time ago Fred
Stansberry talks about "stress-related diseases such as
cancer, arthritis, heart and respiratory diseases,
migraines, allergies and a host of other psychological
and physiological dysfunctions which are increasing at
an alarming rate in our Western culture."

Stress is pretty much common to us all in today’s
pressure-cooker world. It is our responsibility,
however, to do what we can to lessen the stress factors
in our life wherever possible. To do this the following
tips can help.

Write down all your cares and worries. Put them in
order of priority and eliminate those that aren’t
important.

1. Know what your limit is and limit yourself to what 
   you can handle.
2. With stress comes pent-up feelings. Learn how 
   to express these creatively and get them off
   your chest.
3. Accept the fact that some things can’t be changed.
4. Limit major life changes to as few as possible
   in any one year.
5. Resolve all resentments immediately.
6. Make time for rest and relaxation ... get
   sufficient sleep.
7. Watch your diet and eating habits.
8. Maintain a regular physical exercise program.
9. Ultimately, however, we need to learn to trust our
   life to God in all circumstances.

For a more in depth answer to “Turning Stress into
Success" go to: http://tinyurl.com/7q6lw, and to test
your level of stress go to: http://tinyurl.com/2p2fb7

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to accept
the fact that I am neither superman nor superwoman and
limit myself to what I can do and do well. And help me
to ‘change the things I can change and accept (with
grace and patience) the things I cannot change’ and
trust my life to You in all circumstances. Thank you
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus’s name, amen."

1. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Tue 13 Jan 2015, 8:49 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

I Hate Religion  

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through
faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of
God--not by works, so that no one can boast."1

In younger days, when I was in youth ministry, one of
my main ministries was to teach RI (Religious
Instruction) in the public high schools in Adelaide,
South Australia. In every new class I would write in
large letters across the class room board, “I hate
religion."

"Man, in this class, you'll get shot," gasped one
student in amazement.

"But I'm sold on real Christianity," I responded.

"Well, what's the difference?" several chorused.

"Let me explain," I replied.

True, Christianity is considered a religion but in
reality it is profoundly different than man-made
religions.

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary religion
comes from the Latin religare (re meaning “back" and
ligare meaning “to bind"). In other words religion
means “to bind back."

In a real sense religion is “back to bondage" that is
applicable to most, if not all, man-made religions--so
many of which enslave one in bondage to extreme
legalistic rules and regulations with little or no
personal freedoms. In another sense religion (man-made
religion) is man’s search for God through man-made ways
such as good works and/or religiously adhering to
certain rules, rituals and regulations.

On the other hand, authentic Christianity is God’s
search for lost mankind by giving His Son, Jesus, to
come to earth as a baby and then die on the cruel Roman
cross to pay the penalty for your sins and mine.
Authentic Christianity, more than anything else in the
world, has given mankind (and especially womankind)
freedom. Just compare I'lam to Christianity and keep in
mind that I'am is a man-made religion founded by
Mohammed while Christianity was founded by Jesus, Son
of the living God.

Our sin has separated us from a holy God and as such it
is impossible for mankind to save himself. All his
efforts to devise his own way to God are doomed to
failure. We can only find and know God by following his
way and that is by believing that Jesus is the Son of
God and that he died to save us from our sins and sin’s
devastating consequences, which is eternal separation
from a holy and Just God. As Jesus said, “I am the way
and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through me."2

To be sure you are a real Christian and not just a
religious person be sure to read the article, “How to
Be Sure You’re a Real Christian--without having to be
religious," click on the Know God button below or on
http://tinyurl.com/8glq9.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, thank You that You so
loved the world (me) that You gave your Son Jesus to
die on the cross to pay the penalty for all my sins so
I could be freely forgiven by You and given Your gift
of eternal life to be with You in Heaven forever after
my life on earth is finished. Thank You for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’s name,
amen."

1. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV).
2. John 14:6 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Mon 12 Jan 2015, 3:04 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Blessings in Disguise  

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your
way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you
know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has
a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your
endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect
[mature] and complete, needing nothing."1

In much younger days I was the South Australian
director of a youth ministry. Most of my ministry was
teaching Religious Instruction (RI) classes in the
public high schools. This was done through local
churches. In one night the major denominations voted to
withdraw from teaching RI in the schools. Their vote
eliminated at least 90% of my work. I turned in my
resignation but the board enforced my contract that
required three months notice if I were ever to quit.

I thought they were being far less than reasonable. I
had a job but no work. For something to do I started
writing … and have been writing ever since.

Out of what seemed to be a very disappointing
experience the work that I am doing today--over 30
years later--has grown far beyond what I could have
ever dreamed possible. What happened to me back then
was one of the best blessings of my life.

I have read how, during the Great Depression, Wallace
Johnson, a dynamic Christian, was fired from his job at
a saw mill. To Wallace and his wife this was a
devastating loss. So what did Wallace do? He mortgaged
his house and went into the building business. Within
five years he was a multi-millionaire and was the
founder of Holiday Inn.

Wallace said, “If I could locate the man who fired me I
would sincerely thank him for what he did. At the time
it happened, I didn't understand why I was fired. Later
I saw that it was God's unerring and wondrous plan to
get me into the ways of his choosing."

So, dear reader, are you going through a rough time--a
time of loss or disappointment? If so, be sure to ask
God what this painful experience is seeking to teach
you and prepare you for so that you can become a more
fruitful Christian and servant of the Lord.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, in all of life’s painful
experiences please help me see that there is always
some lesson You are seeking to teach me to help me
become a more mature and fruitful Christian and a more
effective witness of Your saving power. Thank You for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’s
name, amen."

1. James 1:2-4 (NLT).

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Post  Admin on Mon 12 Jan 2015, 12:40 am

. How Does the Atheist Answer This Question: by Chance
or Creation?

Why does the earthworm always look clean,
When you consider where it has been?
How does the butterfly with new-formed wings
Know how to fly with such cumbersome things?
Where does the spider keep all of its thread?
Who put the web-pattern into its head?
How does the ant carry food twice its size,
And store for the winter?
Who made it so wise?

  -- Dorothy Bull, Cited in ACTS (Australia) Encounter
    magazine, Sep/Oct, 2001.
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Post  Admin on Fri 09 Jan 2015, 1:39 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Peace, Peace  

Hear the Word of God: “For you know very well that the
day of the Lord [Christ’s second coming to earth] will
come like a thief in the night. While people are
saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on
them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and
they will not escape."1

The Personnel Journal reported this incredible
statistic: since the beginning of recorded history, the
entire world has been at peace less than eight percent
of the time! In its study, the periodical discovered
that of 3,530 years of recorded history, only 286 years
saw peace. Moreover, in excess of 8,000 peace treaties
were made--and broken.2

I have read that one of the fastest growing religions
today is the I'lamic faith. M'slims would have us
believe that theirs is a religion of peace and all the
while their radicals are on a slaughter rampage
throughout various parts of the world. While it is not
politically correct to say so, but the reality is that
the world today is not in a clash of cultures between
I'lam and the West but in a religious war whose
attackers don’t wear a uniform, hide behind innocent
civilians including children, and use our freedoms to
expand and ultimately either kill or subdue us into
their strict control of their legalist religious
laws--and in so doing take away our freedom! That is,
they are using our freedom to take away our freedom.

I recall an old pastor friend saying that all of the
signs that Jesus and the Bible predicted that would
precede Christ’s second coming to earth have actually
been happening since he was here on earth--but today
they are all standing up at once!

Jesus is coming again. That is just as certain as was
His first coming some 2000 years ago. What if it were
today? Would you be ready? Or would you be left behind?
For help to be sure you are ready to meet Jesus face to
face click on the "Know God" button or link below or on
http://tinyurl.com/8glq9.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that You have
promised in Your Word, the Bible, that Jesus is coming
again to take to Heaven all his true followers. Please
help me to be sure that I am ready for His possible
soon return. Thank You for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully in Jesus’s name, amen."

1. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 (NIV).
2. Today In The Word, June, 1988, p.33. Moody Bible
Institute.

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Post  Admin on Thu 08 Jan 2015, 11:29 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

In the Stands or on the Field  

“So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and
teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us.
We want to present them to God, perfect [mature] in
their relationship to Christ. That’s why I work and
struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power
that works within me."1

Joseph Stowell, former president of the Moody Bible
Institute in Chicago, said, “I love going to Chicago’s
Wrigley Field for a baseball game--sitting in the
stands, downing a great hot dog, and cheering the Cubs
on to victory!

“Unfortunately, Christianity has become a lot like
professional sports. As a friend of mine has observed,
there are nine guys on the baseball field doing all the
work and thousands in the stands just watching. And as
you probably know, that’s not God’s game plan for His
people. He wants us to climb out of the stands, get out
on the field, and join the team.

“If you are wondering what good you can do on the
field, wonder no more. What about your financial
resources? Jesus can take your ’silver and gold’ and
use it to accomplish great things for His glory.

“But more than just getting out your checkbook, you
have gifts you can contribute. God has given each of us
gifts that can help advance His kingdom.  Whether it’s
teaching, encouraging, serving, showing hospitality, or
extending mercy, the productive use of each gift can
yield great dividends. Let’s follow the example of Paul
who tirelessly served on God’s field for the joy of
being used by Him."2

I still remember well one of my grade school teachers
who constantly emphasized the importance of being an
active participant in life--not just a watcher. Great
teaching. As Joe Stowell said, “Believe me, it’s far
more rewarding to be on the field than to sit in the
stands."

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, thank You that You use
ordinary people to accomplish Your work on earth. I am
available. Please use me to be a part of Your plans and
what You are doing in the world today. Thank You for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’s
name, amen." 

1. Colossians 1:28-29 (NLT).
2. Cited on KneEmail. kneemail-subscribe@welovegod.org

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Post  Admin on Wed 07 Jan 2015, 11:54 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

True Success  

God’s instructions to Joshua: “Be strong and very
courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant
Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to
the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth;
meditate on it day and night, so that you may be
careful to do everything written in it. Then you will
be prosperous and successful."1 

A hundred years ago, Ralph Waldo Emerson noted three
qualities he deemed marks of true success: the ability
to discern and appreciate beauty, the ability to see
the best in others, and a commitment to leaving the
world a better place."2

Emerson didn’t say that success is in becoming a
powerful politician, a wealthy business man or woman, a
popular movie star, sportsman/woman, an outstanding
speaker--or even the pastor or leader of a mega church.
Nor did he say it had anything to do with physical
beauty or material possessions. This is not to say that
there is anything wrong, in and of themselves, with any
or all of the above, but if this is our definition or
measure of success, it has fallen far short of success
in the eyes of God.

God’s measure of success is: first of all, in studying
and meditating on His Word, the Bible, so we know what
it teaches; and second, in obeying all of God’s laws
and living in harmony with His will. As God promised
Joshua and the people of ancient Israel, if they did
this they would become prosperous and successful. Keep
in mind, too, being a prosperous person has little if
anything to do with material prosperity, but rather it
has to do with knowing and obeying God’s Word and
living in harmony with his will. Also, having the
qualities Emerson described above would also make one
very prosperous.

And as another has said, "Judge your success not only
by what you've become, but by what others have become
because of you."

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please open the eyes of my
understanding so that I will fully grasp the meaning
and impact of all Your laws and principles for
successful and prosperous living and the good sense to
obey and live in harmony with all of these. Thank You
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus’s name, amen."

1. Joshua  1:7-8 (NIV).
2. R. Robert Cueni, Sermons on the Gospel 
   Readings, Series I, Cycle C, CSS Publishing Company.

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Post  Admin on Tue 06 Jan 2015, 10:30 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

What Christianity Did for Women  

"Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was
from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about
the sixth hour. When a Samaritan woman came to draw
water, Jesus said to her, 'Will you give me a drink?'
(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The
Samaritan woman said to him, 'You are a Jew and I am a
Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?' (For
Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered
her, 'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that
asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he
would have given you living water.' ... [Later] his
disciples returned and were surprised to find him
talking with a woman...."1

Alvin Schmidt, in an article on an Assisted News
Service report, asks, "What would be the status of
women be in the Western world today had God not entered
the world in the flesh of his Son Jesus Christ? One way
to answer this question is to look at the low status
women still have in I'lamic countries. In Saudi Arabia,
for instance, women are not even permitted to drive
automobiles, and in the Koran a man is commanded to
beat his wives physically if they are disobedient (Sura
4:34).

"When one looks back in history before and at the time
of Christ, women, similar to I'lamic countries today,
also had very little freedom and dignity. They were
seen as evil, inferior, unclean, unequal, and kept
silent. Numerous statements in ancient literature
attest to this biased cultural perception....

"Reflecting Greek culture," Homer (eighth century B.C.)
wrote, "One cannot trust women" (The Odyssey). The
Greek playwright Euripides (d. 406 B.C.) said, "Women
were the best devisers of evil" (Medea). Tacitus the
first-century Roman pictured women as dominating and
cruel (Annals). Among the Hebrews, Jesus son of Sirach
(second century B.C.) stated, "From a woman sin had its
beginning and because of her we all die"
(Ecclesiastus).2

"Women were seen as inferior, unclean, unequal, but it
was Jesus and the early Christians, in opposition to
the accepted norms of the day and those of ancient
tradition, who accepted women as equal and gave them
dignity. Jesus ministered to women; he asked a despised
Samaritan woman--of all people--to give him a drink of
water; he taught women theological truths; and among
his closest friends (in equal standing with his men
friends) were women. Furthermore, he solidly rebuked
the religious Pharisees who attempted to get Jesus to
condemn the woman caught in adultery by saying that the
man who had never sinned could be the one to cast the
first stone at her. And Jesus appeared to women first
following his resurrection.

"As apostolic Christianity spread, it gave women
freedom and dignity unknown to the ancient world. It
did this not only by baptizing and admitting women to
the Lord's Supper--equal to men--but it also gave them
leadership roles. St. Paul notes that Apphia 'our
sister' was a leader in a house church in Colossae
(Philemon 2). In Laodicea there was Nympha who had 'a
church in her house' (Colossians 4:15), and in Ephesus,
Priscilla was one of Paul's fellow workers (Romans
16:3). Phoebe was a key female leader in the church in
Cenchreae, where she was a deacon (not deaconess) and a
leading officer (Romans 16:1-2). Paul also said Euodia
and Syntyche labored with him in the gospel ... and the
rest of my fellow workers' (Philippians 4:2-3).

"Christ's influence had numerous other effects that
benefited women. Unlike the pagan Greco-Romans, the
early Christians valued baby girls as much as boys. St.
Paul commanded husbands to love their wives as Christ
loved the church (Ephesians 5:25)."3

How sad that our secular world fails to see this
profound truth as well as numerous other blessings that
especially the Western world has gained because of the
impact of Jesus and Christianity.4

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, how can I ever thank You
for the incredible blessings that have been granted,
especially to those of us fortunate enough to have been
born in the Western world, that have come as a result
of sending Your Son, Jesus, to be the Savior of the
world, and because of the profound impact Christianity
has had on the world. Thank you for hearing and
answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name,
amen."

1 John 4: 6-10; 27 (NIV).
2. ©️ Alvin J. Schmidt, Ph.D., "Christianity Gave Women
Freedom and Dignity," Assist News Service (ANS),
www.assistnews.net. Get the full story at:
www.assistnews.net/stories/2007/s07080019.htm.
3. Ibid.
4.See Alvin Schmidt's book The Great Divide: the
Failure of I'lam and the Triumph of the West (Regina
Orthodox Press, 2004).

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Post  Admin on Mon 05 Jan 2015, 7:01 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Faith of Fathers  

"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead,
bring them up in the training and instruction of the
Lord."1

As reported by Chuck Colson in BreakPoint, "Loren
Marks, who teaches at the School for Human Ecology at
Louisiana State University said, 'An interview with the
Australian magazine, Mercatornet, listed some of the
reasons why religious beliefs and practices make such a
difference for many men. 

"'First, married couples who are actively involved in
the same faith tend to have stronger, happier marriages
and this impacts father-child relationships in a
positive way.

"'Second, religious fathers are far less likely to
abuse alcohol and other drugs than non-religious
fathers, and an estimated 80 percent of child abuse is
alcohol related. 

"'The third factor is the belief that fathers will be
personally accountable to God for their good (or bad)
fathering. This [creates] a sacred motivation to be a
better father. It's this factor which sets religious
life apart as a maker of better fathers.'"2

As H. Jackson Brown, Jr. said, "Remember that children,
marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care
they get." And Robert Fulghum, "Don't worry that
children never listen to you. Worry that they're always
watching you."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, as a father (and/or
mother) please help me always to be 'as Jesus' to my
children and family members--and everybody else--and so
live that they, seeing Jesus in me, will want Jesus for
themselves. Thank You for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Ephesians 6:4 (NIV).
2. Chuck Colson, Faith and Fathers, 
    BreakPoint, July 27, 2007, www.breakpoint.org

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Post  Admin on Fri 02 Jan 2015, 11:07 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Finding What You Look for  

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set
your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at
the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above,
not on earthly things."1

You may have read about the teenage boy who lost a
contact lens while playing basketball in his
driveway. After a fruitless search, he told his mother
the lens was nowhere to be found. Undaunted, she went
outside and in a few minutes returned with the eyepiece
in her hand.

"How did you manage to find it, Mom?" the teenager
asked.

"We weren't looking for the same thing," she replied.
"You were looking for a small piece of plastic. I was
looking for $150."2

What we look for and see in life is largely determined
by our values. More often than not when kids inherit a
small fortune which cost them nothing and for which
they did nothing to earn it, they pretty much blow it
within two years. Also, if suffering people don't have
any value to us, we will largely ignore them and not do
anything to help them. Furthermore, if I don't see
people the way God sees them--lost sinners in need of a
Savior and of such infinite value to God that He gave
His Son, Jesus, to come to earth and die on a cruel
Roman cross to pay the penalty for all theirs and our
sins--I won't do anything to seek to influence them for
Jesus nor do anything to help win them to Him.

What we value is what we seek after and find.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to set
priorities for what I value most in life and give of my
best to seek, find, and fulfill what these values
imply--and help me to ensure that these values are in
direct harmony with Your eternal values. Thank You for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's
name, amen."

1. Colossians 3:1-2 (NIV).
2. Alan Smith, TFTD (Thought for the Day)
    http://www.tftd-online.com 

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Post  Admin on Thu 01 Jan 2015, 9:29 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Happy New Year--Begin With the End in Mind  

It was Steven Covey, author of the popular book, "The
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," who coined
the phrase, "Begin with the end in mind."

Most of us know that New Year Resolutions we make at
the beginning of each New Year usually last until the
next setback or challenge we face.

However, if we print a copy of Steven Covey’s Seven
Habits and tape them to the fridge or other prominent
place and read them often, we have a much greater
chance of finishing this New Year with a sense of
achievement:

Steven Covey's Seven Habits:

1. Be proactive. Don't stand still. Take the initiative
   and be responsible.
2. Begin with the end in mind. Start any activity, a 
   meeting, run, day, or life, with an end in
   mind. Work to that end and make sure your
   values are aligned with your goals.
3. Put first things first. Prioritize your life 
   so you're working on the important stuff.
4. Think win/win. This is pretty obvious. You get what
   you put in.
5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
   Listen to emphasize, obtain information, and 
   understand the other person's point of view.
6. Synergize. Work to create outcomes that are greater
   than the individual parts.
7. Sharpen the saw. Cultivate the essential elements
   of your character: physical, mental, social/
   emotional, and spiritual.1

And as Pastor Tod Bolsinger put it, "We need to live
every day with the end in mind--and most important of
all, live with Jesus' end in mind."

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of
Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for
the things done while in the body, whether good or
bad."2

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me every day
this year to live, not only with the end of this year
in mind but with the end of my life in mind so that,
when I stand before You to give an account of my life,
I will hear Your welcome words, 'Well done, good and
faithful servant. Enter into the joy of Your Lord.' So
help me God. Thank You for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’s name, amen."

1. Steven, Covey, http://tinyurl.com/39v3r5.
2. 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NIV).

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Post  Admin on Wed 31 Dec 2014, 9:41 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Failure: Never Final  

"God ... comforts us in all our troubles so that we can
comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able
to give them the same comfort God has given us."1

In his book, Beginning Again, Terry Hershey writes,
"God not only says that failure is never the final
word, but that your area of weakness will become your
area of strength. Where you were weak and learned grace
will become a means whereby you can reach out and touch
the lives of others who need the same good news.

"God is not only working to heal you, but to heal
others through you, to make you what Henri Nouwen
called a 'wounded healer.' 

"Such healing doesn't happen through the man or woman
who has all the answers. It happens through the man or
woman who understands pain and grace. Nouwen explains,
'For a deep understanding of his own pain makes it
possible for the [wounded healer] to convert his
weaknesses into strength and to offer his experience as
a source of healing to those who are often lost in the
darkness of their own misunderstood suffering.'" 

I believe it was Ernest Hemingway who first used the
phrase, "Growing strong in the broken places." The idea
being that where a bone is broken and heals, it becomes
the strongest part of the bone. 

The same is true of our broken places--where we have
been hurt, have fallen, or failed. When we bring these
to Christ for his healing, his strength is then made
perfect in and through our weaknesses. This is
certainly true in ministering effectively to other
people. They are helped, not through our brilliant
logic, nor persuasive speech, but through the sharing
of our struggles, and how, with God's help, we have
overcome. It is a case of one beggar showing other
beggars where to find bread. 

This is why the Apostle Paul could say, "And we know
that all things work together for good to those who
love God, to those who are the called according to His
purpose."2 

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to see my
broken places and find your healing so that I, too, can
be used of you to be a wounded healer. Thank you for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus'
name, amen."

1. 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT). 
2. Romans 8:28 (NKJV).

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  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
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Post  Admin on Tue 30 Dec 2014, 8:05 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Paralyzed by Pleasure  

“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be
called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather
to suffer affliction with the people of God than to
enjoy the passing pleasures of sin."1

Some time ago I read the following story taken from The
Prairie Overcomer magazine.

The man huddled on the cabin floor was slowly freezing
to death. It was high in the Rockies in southwestern
Alberta, and outside a blizzard raged. John Elliott had
logged miles that day through the deep snows of the
mountain passes. As he checked for avalanches and as
dusk and exhaustion overcame him he had decided to
“hole-up."

He made it wearily to his cabin but somewhat dazed with
fatigue, he did not light a fire or remove his wet
clothing. As the blizzard blasted through the cracks in
the old cabin walls, the sleeping forest ranger sank
into oblivion, paralyzed by the pleasure of the storm's
icy caress.

Suddenly, however, his dog sprang into action, and with
unrelenting whines, finally managed to rouse his
near-comatose friend. The dog was John's constant
companion, a St. Bernard, one of a long line of dogs
famous for their heroics in times of crisis.

“If that dog hadn't been with me, I'd be dead today,"
John Elliott says. “When you're freezing to death you
actually feel warm all over, and don't wake up because
it feels too good."2

How easy it is for those of us, especially in the West,
to get lulled into sleep by the pleasures of this
world’s riches and what money can do for us … or for
others who get lulled into sleep by the pleasures of
sin, which as today’s Scripture says, all pass away.

Sometimes God sends or at least allows and uses
setbacks or problems that come into our life to awaken
us out of our sleep to the reality of the situation we
are in--to save us from spiritual bankruptcy and for
some, to save from eternal death.

Whenever I am going through difficult times I ask God,
“What lesson is there in this experience that you are
seeking to teach me. What is it that I need to learn?"
I encourage you to do the same.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, if I am asleep in my
complacency to the reality of my spiritual condition,
please send into my life whatever it takes to awaken me
to reality, help me to see exactly what I need to do,
and give me the good sense and courage to act
accordingly. Thank You for hearing and answering my
prayer. Gratefully in Jesus’s name, amen."

Note: If you have never accepted God’s forgiveness be
sure to read the article, “How to Be Sure You’re a Real
Christian" at: http://tinyurl.com/8glq9.

1. Hebrews 11:24-25 (NIV).
2. The Prairie Overcomer, published by the Prairie
Bible Institute, Three Hills, Alberta Canada.

<Smile)))><    
  
  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * * * * * * 
  Copyright (c) 2014 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
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  ACTS International.
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Post  Admin on Mon 29 Dec 2014, 3:42 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Life Is a Gift  

“Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."1

“There was a blind girl [or so the story goes] who
hated herself because of her blindness. Not only did
she hate herself but she hated everyone else, except
her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She
said that if she could only see the world, she would
marry her boyfriend.

“One day someone donated a pair of eyes to her and then
she could see everything--including her boyfriend. Her
boyfriend asked her, ‘Now that you can see the world,
will you marry me?’ The girl was shocked when she saw
that her boyfriend was blind too, and refused to marry
him. Her boyfriend walked away in tears, and later
wrote a letter to her that simply said, ‘Just take care
of my eyes dear.’

“Too often we change when our status changes. Only a
few remember what life was like before and even fewer
remember who to thank for always being there when times
were painfully unbearable.

“Life is a gift, so today: Before you think of saying
an unkind word, think of someone who can't speak.
Before you complain about the taste of your food, think
of someone who has nothing to eat. Before you complain
about your husband or wife, think of someone who's
crying out to God for a companion. Before you complain
about your life, think of someone who went too early to
heaven.

Before you complain about your children, think of
someone who desires children but is barren. Before you
argue about your dirty house that someone didn't clean
or sweep, think of the people who are living in the
streets. Before whining about the distance you drive,
think of someone who walks the same distance with their
feet. And when you are tired and complain about your
job, think of the unemployed, the disabled and those
who wished they had your job.

“And before you think of pointing the finger or
condemning another, remember that not one of us is
without sin and all will answer to one Maker. And when
depressing thoughts seem to get you down, try to put a
smile on your face and thank God you're alive and still
around. Life is a gift, live it, enjoy it, celebrate
it, and fulfill it.

“Enjoy the moment. It may not come around again."2

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, in the midst of life’s
trials help me always to count my many blessings--one
by one--and learn to always give thanks to You for
these, and always be grateful for what I do have and
not complain about what I don’t have. Thank You for
hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus’s
name, amen."

1. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 (NIV).
2. Author unknown. Source: Marcella's Inspiring
Collection, http://tinyurl.com/w9nb9.

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